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ED 292 153 

CS 506 070 





Burns, Gary 

The Boss town Sound. 

Mar 88 

39p.; Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the 
American Culture Association (10th, New Orleans, LA, 
March 23-2C, 1988). 

Viewpoints (120) — Speeches/Conference Papers (150) 
MF01/PC02 Plus Postage. 

*Bands (Music); Content Analysis; Discographies; 
*Music; Musicians; ^Popular Culture 

Media History; Music Ensembles; *Rock and Roll; *Rock 


Based on the argument that (contrary to critical 
opinion) the musicians in the various bands associated with Bosstown 
Sound were indeed talented, cohesive individuals and that uhe bands* 
lack o£ renown was partially a result of ill-treatment by record 
companies and the press, this paper traces the development of the 
Bosstown Sound from its beginnings in the nightclubs of Boston in 
1967 to its end in 1969. In addition, the paper provides complete 
discographies, including critical commentary, of records produced by 
bands associated with the Bosstown Sound. The bands of the Bosstown 
Sound include: The Apple Pie Motherhood Band, The Bagatelle, The 
Beacon Street Union, Bo Grtunpus, Eagle, Earth Opera, Eden*s Children, 
Sure Looks Real, The 111 Windr Jolliver Arkansaw, Orpheus, Phluph, 
Puff, and Ultimate Spinach. (Thirty-three references are attached.) 

icicicicicicicx^t **************************** ******* 

* Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be made * 

* from the original document. ^ 


The Bosstown Sound 

Gary Burns, Assistant Professor 
Department of Communication 
University of Missouri -St. Louis 
St. Louis, MO 63121 

American Culture Association, New Orleans, March 24, 1983 
My thanks to Jeff Tamarkin of Goldmine magazine. 




(J r n <: 



Off<e of EdtxiationtI Research and Improvement 


O Tnis document has been reproouced as 
received from the person or Ofoqnjzation 
ortginating it 

O Minor changes have been made to improve 
reproduction quality 

• Poi nts of view or opinions stated in t his docu- 
ment do not necessarily represent official 
OERI position or policy 


The uwisstown Sound 

In some ways the Bosstown Sound is the pop music equivalent of the Edsel— a 
notorious marketing effort that failed. However, the Edsel at least has nostalgia 
going for it, is well known, and is often recalled fondly or at ^east with 
whimsy— whereas the Bosstown Sound has been overlooked by most critics and 
historians of pop music. The few writers who have taken note of the Bosstown 
Sound have, by and large, relegated it to the trash heap of pop music history. 

I do not wish to contradict the conventional view that the Bosstown Sound 
(sometimes called simply the Boston Sound) was a cynically conceived promotional 
gimmick designed to "hitch-hike" on tue success of the San Francisco Sound. Nor 
wo»;ld I dispute that the Bosstown Sound was a failure from a commercial 
standpoint. I do, however, wish to refute two corollary assumptions— (1) the 
notion that the Bosstown Sound was entirely the creation of ad men and that, 
musically speaking, there was no such thing as a Bosstown Sound; and (2) the 
view that the records of the Bosstown bands were, as a group, somehow musically 
inferior or lacking in authenticity compared to practically anything else released 
in the 1960s. 

I will begin by reviewing the few words others have written about the 
Bosstown Sound. This will provide an overview of the historical record and 
a picture of the prevailing critical attitude toward the Bosstown Sound. 
Following tnis, I will present a survey of the bands and records associated 
with the Bosstown Sound. The survey will reveal that the Bosstown Sound had 
distinctive musical characteristics; that it was therefore something of a genre 
(albeit a multifarious one), not merely a gaggle of bands united only under 
a marketing slogan; and that the "genre" as a whole, and the records individually, 
were less pretentious and more musically ambitious than critics and historians 
have noted. My aim in making these arguments is not to place Ultimate Spinach 
and their cohorts on a pedestal, but to rescue them from their undeserved place 

on the trash heap. 

Bosstown as Scene and Pseudo-Scene 

What eventually became known as the Bosstown Sound existed, at least 
in rudimentary form, as early as June 1967. The first issue of Avatar , a Boston 
underground newspaper, carried an ad for the Boston Tea Party (53 Berkeley St.), 
a psychedelic club which had opened the previous winter. The ad promoted the 
appearance of the Hallucinations and the 111 Wind, two Bosstown Sound bands, 
on June 16 and 17 A 

The Tea Party was the main outlet for local psychedelic/underground bands, 
and also for like minded bands visiting from other cities, including the Velvet 
Underground, the Peanut Butter Conspiracy^ Lothar and the Hand People, and Canned 
Heat. Other Boston psychedelic clubs included the Crosstown Bus (337 Washington 
St., Brighton Center, Brighton [an area within Boston]), the Rabbit (Rte. 138^ 
Taunton [a town about 30 miles south of Boston]), the Psychedelic Supermarket, 
the Unicorn, the Catacombs, and the Ark. The Club 47 (47 Palmer St., Harvard 
Square) occasionally featured Bosstown bands but was primarily a folk and blues 
club until it closed in April 1968. 

The 47 is fondly remembered as a mainstay in Boston's very active folk 
music scene during the mid 1960s. This era in Boston's musical history is 
lovingly described in von Schmidt and Rooney's Baby, Let Me Follow You Down .^ 
Major figures associated with the Boston folk scene include Bob Dylan, Joan 
Baez, Richard and Mimi Farina, the Kweskin Jug Band and its offshoots, John 
Sebastian, Tom Rush, Taj Mahal, the Chambers Brothers, Eric von Schmidt, Erie 
Andersen, and many others. Avatar had a fairly strong folk orientation and 
was in many ways a propaganda vehicle for the personality cult centered around 
folk singer and communal family leader Mel Lyman. 

The folk scene is important as a musical backdrop for the Bosstown Sound, 


but there s'-^m to have been surprisingly few direct connections between what 
might be called the folk subculture and the psychedelic subculture. Peter Rowan, 
David Grisman, and John Nagy were veterans of the folk scene who formed the 
Bosstown band Earth Opera. Peter Wolf moved from folk to a Bosstown band called 
the Hallucinations. These are the only significant folk-Bosstown connections 
I have been able to find. Interestingly, Rowan, Grisman, and Wolf appear also 
to be among the few musicians from the Bosstown Sound who have gone on to highly 
successful musical careers. Rowan played with Seatrain in the early 1970s, 
then as one of the Rowan Brothers, who released five LPs between 1972 and 1982. 
Grisman is renowned as a session mandolinist. Wolf is best known as the lead 
singer of the J. Geils Band. Stephen Bladd, drummer for the J. Geils Band, 
was also a member of the Hallucinations. Jeff Baxter, a member of Ultimate 
Spinach for their last album, later played with Steely Dan and the Doobie 
Brothers . 

If there is little connection between Bosstown and the folk scene, there 
is even less between Bosstown and the many Boston-area bands from the mid 1960s 
who would now be called "punk." These include the Remains, the Barbarians, 
the Lost, the Rockin' Ramrods (aka the Ramrods), Teddy and the Pandas, the 
Improper Bostonians , Monday * s Mondos , the Wi Idweeds (an early incarnation of 
NRBQ), the North Atlantic Invasion Force (cka the N.A.I.F.), the Rising Storm, 
and Georgie Porgie and the Cry Babies. 3 Many of these bands are from a slightly 
earlier period than the Bosstown Sound. Still, one would expect some carry-over 
of personnel, yet I have been able to find only one— Lee Mason, drummer for 
the Lost, was the leader of the Bosstown band the Bagatelle. Further, Teddy 
and the Pandas' only album was released in 1968— the year of the Bosstown 
Sound— yet I have not seen this band mentioned in any discussion of the Bosstown 
Sound, other than as a punk forerunner. 

The fragmentation of the local music scene(s) was apparently one of the 
major reasons why the unifying label "Bosstown Sound" was resented. Paul Williams 
was one of the critics who emphasized the diversity of the Boston bands: 

[T]here isn't any common consciousness in the Boston rock scene—there 
isn't even any Boston rock scene. There are good groups coming out of 
that area (the Bagatelle, Earth Opera), but there isn't the spiritual 
unity that San Francisco had back when everybody played the Avalon or 
the Fillmore and did benefits together and looked to the [Jefferson] 
Airplane and the [Grateful] Dead as ad hoc leaders of the scene (they 
were the first to be known in the town, the first to be known in the 
country, the first to get contracts etc., and most of the groups cheerfully 
followed their leads). Boston groups are related to each other only 
in a geographical sense, and even ihat is tenuous. And even if there 
were a real Boston scene analogous to the togetherness that existed in 
the Bay Area, that fret would not be especially important. It would 
be very nice, it might even mean that we could look forward to good things 
coming out of Boston (and I think we can, by the way), but it wouldn't 
mean there was necessarily a Boston sound or that any group out of that 
area would be a priori worth listening to. MGM's release of three rather 
sickly albums to a fanfare of bibble about the "Bosstown Sound" is a 
depressing and unsuccessful hype, despite what may have been seemingly 
sensible plans and reasonably good intentions.^ 

There does indeed seem to have been a lack of "spiritual unity" among 
Boston rock bands (in contrast to the togetherness of the folk crowd). The 
main problem apparently was the lack of viable rock clubs before the Boston 
Tea Party. In addition, it may be significant that many of the members of the 
Bosstown bands were college students and not natives Bostonians. A similar 

situation prevailed among the folkies, but that scene had more time to develop 
into an effective melting pot— -whereas some of the Bosstown bands didn't even 
meet each other until they toured nationally. 5 Also missing were the local 
and regional record labels often associated with a healthy and developing rock 
scene. Several such labels had sprung up around the earlier punk movement, 
but the Bosstown Sound was dominated entirely by national labels (especially 
MGM, but also ABC and Elektra). 

These points notwithstanding, Williams's contrasting of San Francisco 
and Boston appear? to be somewiiat overblown. The Boston Tea Party apparently 
served much the same function as the Avalon and Fillmore ballrooms, and was, 
according to one account, a large financial success during the heyday of 
Bosstown. 6 The San Francisco rock scene produced a multitude of bands, some 
of whom were no more in tune with any overall local unity than were the most 
isolated of the Bosstown bands. 

Moreover, San Francisco rock was no less vulnerable to hype than was 
Bosstown. The notorious overpromotion of Moby Grape is a case in point. In 
a similar vein, Snn Francisco rock was a major ingredient in the hippie myth, 
which was subjected to so much national hype that locals finally staged an event 
(yet more hype) declaring the Death of Hippie. 

In both San Francisco and Boston, the hype problem was but one dimension 
of a larger phenomenon, common at that time, of rock culture at odds with record 
compani es . Among San Franci sco bands , for exampi e , Jefferson Ai rpl ane was 
constantly at war with their record company, RCA. In Boston, MGM's naming, 
sponsorship, and packaging of the "Bosstown Sound" produced an immediate and 
strong backlash, both in the local underground press ( Avatar ) and in the 
developing national rock press (Crawdaddy, Rolling Stone ). 

In Avatar, a review of a concert by Country Joe and the Fish contrasted 


that band with "WBZ's and MGM*s Boston Sound," which was seen as "derivative" 
and lacking in "honesty and originality-"^ In a later issue, a review of a 
Doors concert similarly found the Electric Organ, "one of the new Boston Sound 
groups" which opened the concert, incompetent and "highly indicative of MGM*s 
fictitious Boston Sound/'^ Elsewhere, Rusty Marcus, identified (apparently 
misidentified) as bassist with the Bosstown band Eden's Children, is quoted 
as saying: "Boston could never support a music scene. You can't enjoy yourself 
if your body's sick, and Boston's sick, physically, psychologically sick. • . 
• [W]e're glad we're not just lumped together with the rest of the Boston Sound. 
[At that time, Eden's Children was the only Boston band signed to a label other 
than MGMJ I mean, MGM's trying to buy its way onto the charts. "9 

Crawdaddy printed the critical Paul Williams piece quoted above, while 
Rolling Stone published an acerbic review by Boston native Jon Landau. In the 
summer of 1967, Landau had published an enthusiastic article in Crawdaddy about 
some of the new Boston bands. 10 The Bosstown hype provoked him to castigate 
what he saw as exploitation of an emerging rock He was particularly 
hard on the debut records of two of the initial MGM Bosstown bands— Ultimate 
Spinach and the Beacon Street Union. The Spinach album was "at best, 
pretentious." The Eyes of the Beacon Street Union included "very inept original 
material which is sung and produced very poorly. "11 These bands (along with 
Orpheus, the other MGM band included from the beginning in the Bosstown promotion) 
were not even mentioned in Landau's Crawdadd y article and, based on club ads 
in available issues of Avatar, were apparently among the later of the Bosstown 
bands to begin playing locally. 

Critics were generally more lenient toward the non-MGM bands, particularly 
Earth Opera, Eden's Children, and the Bagatelle. However, the overall harsh 
assessment of Bosstown as both bad promotion and bad music quickly became 



orthodoxy and is the usual framework used in the terse dismissal of the subject 
in subsequent accounts. ^2 

In- contrast to this negative view, the mainstream press actually abetted 
MGM*s hype, most notoriously in an anonymous Newsweek story that predated the 
release of MGM*s initial Bosstown records. The story spoke flatteringly of 
individual bands and the overall scene, emphasized the collegiate background 
of the bands and audience, and played up the music's cerebral appeal (what Landau 
would call pretentiousness). The article also ratified the "Bosstown" moniker. 

Richard Goldstein's article in Vogue elaborated further on the 
collegiate/cerebral angle. 1* Even the Wall Street Journal covered the Bosstown 
Sound, running a story that focused on MGM*s marketing of Ultimate Spinach. 
As unilluminating as the article was, it removed any lingering doubts that hype 
end marketing were by this time the real Bosstown story. 15 

It fell once again to the rock press to publish a post mortem summation 
of the Bosstown Sound. Robert Somma*s article in Fusion provided a comprehensive, 
although rambling, historical account which focused on the marketing effort, 
media response, the role of MGM Records and Boston radio stations such as WBZ, 
and the reasons for the commercial failure of the Bosstown Sound. Among the 
latter were the anti-Bosstown backlash and the failure of bands such as Ultimate 
Spinach to live up to the expectations created by MGM*s publicity. 16 

Somma also touches on managerial and financial troubles at MGM Records. 
These were a probleir during the Bosstown debacle and became crises in 1969, 
resulting in the appointment of the flamboyant Mike Curb, then 25 years old, 
as President of MGM Records. Within a year. Curb, who later became a Reaganite 
politician, caused a stir in the music industry by announcing that MGM was 
dropping 18 unspecified pro-drug recording acts, including three chart LP bands. 
Rolling Stone pointed out that MGM did not have three chart LP groups to cut, 

Er!c 9 


and speculated that Curb's announcement was nothing more than a publicity stunt. 
An additional speculation was that some of the 18 acts might be bands from the 
Bosstown Sound still under contract to jhis seems unlikely, since none 

of MGM's Bosstown bands rad released a record anyway since 1969 at the latest, 
and none have ever been linked, to my knowledge, with use or advocacy of drugs. 

Viewed in this slightly larger context, the Bosstown Sound can be seen 
as one ep-fsode in a comedy of errors at MGM. In light of this, the Bosstown 
bands deserve more sympathy than they have received. The current revival and 
rerelease of 1960s punk and psychedelic records has so far passed over the 
Bosstown Soundv except for the recent rerelease of the first two Ultimate Spinach 
albums. Lack of interest in the Bosstown bands is an unfortunate oversight, 
although understandable given critical orthodoxy on the subject. The Bosstown 
records are ripe for reexamination. Many of them are as good as the critics' 
favorite rock albums from the late 1960s. 

The Bands and Records 

Newsweek 's article on the Bosstown Sound noted that "[h]owever diverse, 
the Boston groups are held together by their general folk orientation, their 
subdued, artful electronic sound, an insistence on clear, understandable lyrics, 
the spice of dissonance and the infusion of classical textures. For the 
most part this is an accurate description and therefore a useful definition 
of the Bosstown Sound as a musical genre. 

Despite the view of some skeptics noted above, that there was no such 
thing as a Bosstown Sound, there was at least as much musical coherence among 
the Bosstown bands as there was, say, among such Chicago rock contemporaries 
as the Buckinghams, New Colony Six, and Shadows of Knight. If rock is really 
"the sound of the city," and if that phrase really means what it seems to, then 
Boston rock is a valid category, and the Bosstown Sound is an incomparably 



discrete subcategory. It is also surprisingly rich, as a close examination 

of the bands and records of the Bosstown Sound reveals. 

What follows is as complete a list as I can provide at this point. I 

have copies of the records, except where noted by asterisk. Information on 
chart action is taken from Joel Whitburn's books. 19 Discographical and personnel 
information comes from record jackets, works previously cited, and additional 
reference works. 20 Songwriting credits are listed in parentheses. Names are 

spelled as they appear on album covers and record labels* 

I. The Apple Pie Hotherhood Band. 



1. The Apple Pie Hotherhood Bawd , Atlantic SD 8189, 1968. Chart 
action: none. 

a. Side I 

1. "Born Under a Bad Sign" (Booker T. Jones, William Bell) 

2. '»rd Like to Know" (David Blue) 

3. "Ice" (Ted Demos, Marilyn Lundquist) 

4. "Yesterday's New Song" (Jeff Labes) 

5. "Barnaby's Madness" (Richard Barnaby) 

b. Side 2 

T. '*The Ultimate" (Dick Barnaby, Jackie Bruno, Joe Castacjno, 
Ted Demos, Jeff Labes) 
"Contact" (Alan Gordon, Gary Bonner) 

2. "The Way It Feels" (Jeff Labes) 

3. *'Bread and Jam" (Dick Barnaby, Jackie Bruno, Joe 

Castagno. Ted Demos, Jeff Labes) 

4. "Apple Pie" (Jeff Labes) 

5. "Variations on a Fingernail" (Jeff Labes) 

c. Members 

Jeff Labes, organ, piano 
Ted Demos, lead guitar 
Joe Castagno, rhythm guitar 
Jackie Bruno, drums 
Richard Barnaby, bass 

d. Other credits 

All a'^rangements by the Apple Pie Motherhood Band. 
Recording engineer: Wiley C. Brooks. 
Album photography and cover design: Joel Brodsky. 
"Apple Pie" produced by Felix Pappalardi. 



All other selections produced by Marvin Lagunoff. 
A Pilgrim Production. 

e. Liner notes 

Liner notes refer to Boss Town and the Boston Sound and 
point out that all band members are singers. 

2. fiyde Pie , Atlantic SD 8233, 1969* Chart action: none. 

a. Side 1 

T. "Crangutang" (Michael Sorafine) 

2. "I Just Want to Make Love 'to You" (Willie Dixon) 

3. "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" (Chuck Berry) 

4. "Grandmother Hooker" (Michael Sorafine) 

b. Side 2 

1. "Get Ready" (William Robinson) 

2. "Super Music Man" (Jeff Labes) 

3. "Gypsy" (Ted Demos) 

4. "He Turned You On" (Michael Sorafine, Don Henny) 

c. Members 

Bruce Paine, vocals 

Michael Sorafine, guitar, vocals 

Ted Demos, guitars, vocals 

Adam Myers, harmonica, vocals 

Dick Barnaby, bass guitar, bamboo flute 

Jef Labes, keyboards 

Jat ' Bruno, drums 

d. Other credits 

Recording engineer: William Arlt. 
Album design: Edgar Blakeney. 
Backliner photos: Michael Por :rantz. 
Produced by Tom Dowd. 

B. Single. 

e. Liner notes 

*1. "Long Live Apple PieV"Flight Path," Atlantic 2477, 19-:8. Chart 
action: none. 

C. Discussion. 

According to Goldstein, the Apple Pie Motherhood Band was previously 
called the Sacred Mushrooms, and before that C.C. and the Chasers. None 
of these names appear in Avatar , but a band called the Mushroom is promoted 
in a Boston Tea Party ad. I know of no other published references to 
this band. 

The Apple Pie Motherhood Band*s albums demonstrate that they were talented 
instrumentalists but not very good songwriters. They were at their best 
when performing others* material or when jamriing. The second album drops 

ERIC 12 


almost all psychedelic trappings in favor of noisy hard rock. Neither 
album is anything out of the ordinary. 

The Bagatelle. 

A. LP. 

1. 11 PM Saturday , ABC ABCS-646, September 1968. Chart action: 
none. No songwriter credits listed. 

a. Side 1 

1. "Soul Man" 

2. "Got to Get You Into My Life" 

3. "Shake" 

4! "Mashed Potatoes" ["Land of 1000 Dances"] 

5. "Such a Fuss About Sunday" 

6. "Hey You" 

7. "I'm Losin' You" 

8. "Back on the Farm" 

b. Side 2 

T. "Every Night" 

2. "Everybody Knows" 

3. "Tve Been Trying" 

4. "I Can't Stand It" 

5. "I Feel Good" 

"Getting Ready" 
"Please Please Please" 

"One Summer Night" 
"Crying in the Chapel" 
"In the Still of the Night" 
"I Only Have Eyes for You" 
"For Your Love" 

c. Members 

Fred Griffith, vocals 

Rodney Young, vocals 

David "Redtop" Thomas, vocals 

Willie Alexander, vocals, piano, percussion 

Steve Schrell, saxophone, flute 

Mark Gould, trumpet 

David "Turk" Bynoe, bass 

Marshall O'Connor, guitar 

Lee Mason, leader, drums 

d. Other credits 

Recording engineer: Ed Greene. 

Remix engineer: Gary Kellgren. 

Arrangements by the Bagatelle and Larry Fallon. 

Sculpture in cover photo by Agostini. 

Representation: Mark D. Joseph, Reluctant Management. 

A Rasputin Production by Tom Wilson. 




e> Liner notes 

A few lines of nonsense by Paul Williams of Crawdaddy > 

B. Single. 

*le "Such a Fuss About Sunday7"What Can I Do," ABC 11063, September 
1968. Chart action: none. 

C. Discussion. 

The Bagatelle was an interracial band (five whites, four blacks) that 
mixp' jazz arrangements, horn-based soul, and 1950s- and gospel-style 
V group harmony. Their LP appears to be a live recording at a club, 
subsequently sweetened (unnecessarily) in a few spots with strings. It 
is easy to tell that this was an exciting live band, but the recording 
seems somewhat flat and probably does not do justice to the band. 

The Beacon Street Union. 

A. LPs. 

1. The Eyes of the Beacon Street Union , MGM E-4517 (mono), MGM 
SE-4517 (stereo), March 1968. Chart action: entered 3-9-68, 
peak 75, 16 weeks. 

a. Side 1 

1. "Recitation" 

2. "My Love Is" (Ulaky) 

3. "Beautiful Delilah" (Beiry) 

4. "Sportin* Life" (Beacon Street Union) 

5. "Four Hundred and Five" (Ulaky, Wright, Tartachny, 

Weisberg, Rhodes, Farrell) 

6. "Mystic Mourning" (Ulaky, Weisberg, Rhodes) 

b. Side 2 

1. "Sadie Said No" (Ulaky, Wright) 

2. "Speed Kills" (Ulaky, Wright) 

3. "Blue Avenue-* (Ulaky) 

4. "South End Incident" (Ulaky) 

5. "Green Destroys the Gold" (Ulaky) 

6. "The Prophet" (Ulaky, Wright) 

c. Members. 
Not listed. 

d. Other credits. 

Recitation by Tom Wilson, written by Robert Pomerene. 
Produced by Wes Farrell, a Coral Rock Production. 
Director of Engineering: Val Valentin. 

Engineers: George Schowerer, Mirasound Studios; Gary 
Kellgren, Mayfair Studios. 

e. Liner notes. 



Robert Pomerane ' s silly "Reci tati on , " read by Tom Wi 1 son 
to open Side 1, is printed Inside the gatefold cover. 

2. The Clown Died in Marvin Gardens , MGM SE-4568, August 1968. 
Chart action: entered 9-14-68, peak 173, 10 weeks. 

a^ Side 1 




c. Members 

John Lincoln Wright, vocals 
Robert Rhodes,, keyboards, brass 
Richard Weisberg, percussion 
Wayne Ulaky, bass guitar 
Paul Tartachny, lead and rhythm guitar 

d. Other credits 
Produced by Wes Farrell. 
A Coral Rock Production. 
Director of Engineering: Val Valentin. 
Cover photo: Joel Brodsky. 
Liner photo: David Hoff. 
Art direction: Acy R. Lehman. 
Orchestrations: Lary Fallon. 

Technical assistance: Gary Kellgreen, Eddie Kramer and 
the Record Plant. 

e. Liner notes 
? None. 

B. Singles. 

*1. "South End Incident"/"Speed Kills," MGM 13865, March 1968 
(according to Roxon), or 1967 (according to Tortelli). 
Chart action: none. 

*2. "Biue Suede Shoes"/"Four Hundred and Five," MGM 13935, August 
1968. Chart act-^'on: none. 

*3. "Mayola"/"May I Light Your Cioarette," MGM 14012, November 

"The Clown Died in Marvin Gardens" (Ulaky, Wright) 
"The Clown's Overture" (Fallon) 
"Angus of Aberdeen" (Ulaky, Weisberg) 
"Blue Suede Shoes" (Perkinj) 
"A Not Very August Afternoon" (Wright, Tartachny, 
Weisberg, Rhodes) 
"Now I Taste the Tears" (Clifford) 

Side 2 

"King of the Junole" (Wright, Tartachny, Weisberg) 
"May I Light Your Cigarette" (Ulakv, Wright) 
"Baby Please Don't Go" (this is a Muddy Waters song, 
but is credited on the album to Wright, Rhodes, 
Weisberg, Tartachny, and Ulaky) 



1968 (according to Roxon), or 1969 (according to Tortelli). 
Chart action: none. 

*4. "Lord Why Is It So HardV"Can't Find My Fingers," RTP 10011, 
1969. Chart action: none. 

C. Discussion. 

The Beacon Street Union has a reputation as a very good live band that 
nevGr quite clicked in the studio. Their albums are uneven, ranging 
from hardhitting punkadelic ("Blue Avenue") to gimmicky novelties ("Speed 
Kills"), from ludicrous orchestral excess ("The Clown's Overture") to 
rather likable instrumental jam excess (the 16-minute "Baby Please Don't 
Go"). The Union were at their best when they tried to be tough and not 
profound, which was not often enough. The melodramatic "South End 
Incident," reportedly controversial when it was released as a single, 
has not worn welT. Overall, it seems that the Beacon Street Union were 
a punkadelic band without clear vision,, caught in a coninercial environment 
that too often led them to act on their own, and their producer's, bad 
ideas. Still:, they were surprisingly good musicians, and their albums 
have many enjoyable moments (outside of their interest as period pieces). 
A later version of the band recorded under the name Eagle (see below). 

Bo Grunpus. 

A. LP. 

n. Before the War , Atco 33-246, 1968. Chart action: none. 

B. Singles: none. 

C. Discussion. 

This band is mentioned in the Goldstein article. A later version recorded 
under the name Jol liver Arkansaw (see below). To date, I have been unable 
to obtain Bo Grumpus's LP. 


A. LP. 

1. CoBie Under Nancy's Tent , Janus JLS 3011, 1970. Chart action: 

a. Side 1 

1. "Pack Up" (B. Rhodes, J. Wright) 

2. "Come In, It's All for Free" (J. Wright, W. Ulaky) 

3. "Brown Hair" (J. Wright, W. Ulaky) 

4. "Dance On Little Beauty" (J. Wright) 

5. "City Girl" (J. Wright, W. Ulaky) 

b. Side 2 

1. "Kickin' It Back to You" (R. Rhodes, J. Wright) 

2. "Separated" (J. Wright, W. Ulaky) 


3. "We Got a Good Thina Goin'" (unknown) 
"Get a Hit and Run"^{J. James) 

4. "Snake in the Grass" (J. Wright, W. Ulaky) 

5. "Comin' Home Day" (J. Wright, W. Ulaky) 

c. Members 

Not listed on cover. 

Hounsome lists: 

J. James, guitar^ vocals 
Robert Rhodes, keyboards, horns 
Wayne Ulaky, baSs 
John Wright i vocals 

Tortelli lists: 

John Wright, vocals 
Richard Weisberg, drums 
Wayne Ulaky, guitar 
Bobby Hastings, bass 

d. Other credits 

Produced by Wes Farrell for Coral Rock Productions, Inc. 

Album cover design: Maurer Productions. 

Cover photo: Music Hall Theatre, Boston. 

Photographs: Steve Hansen, Boston. 

Management: Eagle Rock Management. 

Album Coordinator: Dorothy Schwartz. 

Production Coordinator: Bob Scerbo. 

e. Liner notes 

Quote by John Kreidl, Vibrations magazine (a Boston-based 
music publication which I have not been able to examine): 
"You can advance backwitrds or retreat forward. John Wright 
is a man who thinks about the last word." 

B. Singles. 

n. "Kicking It Back to You"/"Come In, It's All for Free," Janus 
113, 1970. Chart action: none. 

*2. "Working Man"/"Brown Hair," Janus 135, 1970. Chart action: 

C. Discussion. 

This reconstituted version of the Beacon Street Union followed the formula 
of late 1960s/early 1970s hard rock. The album is competently done but 

Earth Opera. 



Earth Opera , Elektra EKS-74016, March 1968. Chart action: 

a. Side 1 (all songs written by Peter Rowan) 
T. "The Red Sox Are Winning" 

2. "As It Is Before" 

3. "Dreamless" 

4. "To Care at All" 

5. "Home of the Brave" 

b. Side 2 

1. "The Child Bride" (Peter Rowan) 

2. "Close Your Eyes and Shut the Door" (Peter Rowan) 

3. "Time and Again" (Peter Rowan, David Grisman) 

4. "When You Were Full of Wonder" (Peter Rowan) 

5. "Death by Fire" (Peter Rowan) 

c. Members 

Peter Rowan, vocals, guitar 

David< Grisman, mandocello, mandolin 

John Nagy, bass 

Bill Stevenson, piano, organ, vibes, harpsichord 
Paul DilTon, drums 

d. Other credits 

Billy Mundi and Warren Smith, drums and percussion. 

Produced by Peter K. Siege! . 

Production Supervisor: Jac Holzman. 

Recording engineers: Dave Sanders, Roy Cicala. 

Mixing: Peter K. Siegel. 

Cover construction: Abe Gurvin. 

Cover photography: Joel Brodsky. 

Cover concept and art direction: William S. Harvey. 

e. Liner notes 

Song lyrics are printed inside Unipak gatefold. 

The Great American Eagle Tragedy , Elektra EKS-74038, March 
1969. Chart action: entered 3-22-69, peak 181, 4 weeks. 

a. Side 1 

T. "Home to You" (Peter Rowan) 

2. "Mad Lydia's Waltz" (Peter Rowan) 

3. "Alfie Finney" (Paul Dillon) 

4. "Sanctuary from the Law" (Peter Rowan) 

5. "All Winter Long" (Peter Rowan) 

b. Side 2 (all songs written by Peter Rowan) 
Y. **The American Eagle Tragedy" 

2. "Roast Beef Love" 

3. "It's Love" 



c> Members 

Peter Rowan, acoustic and electric guitars, tenor saxophone, 

David Grisman, mandolin, mandocello, piano, alto saxophone, 

Paul Dillon, drums, acoustic guitar, percussion, vocals 
John Nagy, electric bass, cello, mandocello 

d> Other credits 

Guest musicians: Jack Bonus, Richard Grando, John Cale, 
Dave Horowitz, Bill Keith, Herb Bushier, Bob Zachary. 

Manager: Bob Zachary, 

Produced by Peter K. Siegel. 

Production Supervisor: Jac Holzman. 

Engineering: Dave Sanders, Peter K. Siegel. 

Recorded at A&R Studios and Elektra Sound Recorders, New 

Collage: David Grisman, Myron Collins. 

Photos by Myron Collins, 

Color illustration: Gene Szafran. 

Design: Robert L. Heimall, 

Art direction: William S, Harvey. 

e. Liner notes 

B. Single. 

*1. "Home to YouV'Alfie Finney," Elektra 45650, 1969. Chart 
action: "Home to You" entered 4-26-69, peak 97, 1 week. 

C. Discussion. 

Despite their psychedelic album covers. Earth Opera played country rock 
(with touches of folk and jazz) that was usually pleasant and seldom 
exciting. The band sometimes seems to be straining to sound down homey 
and laid back. The songwriting is similarly contrived, with too many 
changes in rhythm. Singer Peter Rowan often sounds like Don McLean, 
only whinier. Some songs are arrestingly atmospheric ("The Child Bride"), 
and the occasional high energy numbers are generally successful (e.g. 
the rollicking "Sanctuary from the Law"). "The American Eagle Tragedy" 
is a disjointed anti-war opus, stretched to an unbearable eleven minutes. 
Social commentary was not the strong suit of the Bosstown Sound. All 
in all. Earth Opera was probably an overrated band— as unlikely as that 
may seem— because they were treated as exceptions in many of the 
anti-Bosstown diatribes. 

VII. Eden's Children. 

A. LPs. 

1. Eden's Children , ABC ABC-624 (mono), ABC ABCS-624 (stereo), 
January 1968. Chart action: entered 3-9-68, peak 196, 
2 weeks. 



a. Side 1 (all songs writtrn by Richard Schamach) 

1. "Knocked Out" 

2. "Goodbye Girl" 

3. "If She's Right" 

4. "I Wonder Why" 

5. "Stone Fox" 

6. "My Bad Habit" 

b» Side 2 

TI "Just Let Go" (Richard Schamach) 

2. "Out Where the Light Kish Live" (Richard Schamach) 

3. "Don't Tell Me" (James Edwards) 

c. Members 

Jimmy Sturman, drums 

Larry Kiley, bass 

Richard (Sham) Schamach, guitar, vocals 

d- Other credits 

Produced by Bob Thiele. 

Engineer: Eddie Brackett. 

Cover and liner photos; Ira Glaser. 

Cover design: Robert and Barbara Flynn/Viceroy. 

Liner design: Joe Lebow. 

Dedicated to Gordon Dinerstein, Harry Carte**, Paul Maged. 
e. Liner notes 

Gatefold cover contains lengthy biographical and 
musicological discourse by Frank Kofsky, emphasizing the 
band's jazz tendencies. Also included are the lyrics for 
all the songs on the album. 

2. Sure Looks Real , ABC ABCS-652, 1968. Chart action: none. 

a. Side 1 

T. "Sure Looks Real" (Richard Schamach) 

2. "Toasted" (L. Kiely, Jr.) 

3. "Spirit Call" (Richard Schamach) 

4. "Come When I Call" (Richard Schamach) 

5. "Awakening" (Richard Schamach) 

b. Side 2 

"The Clock's Imagination" (Richard Schamach) 

2. "Things Gone Wrong" (Richard Schamach) 

3. "Wings" (L. Kiely) 

4. "Call It Design" (Richard Schamach) 

5. "Invitation" (Richard Schamach) 

6. "Echoes" (Richard Schamach) 

c. Members 

Richard "Sham" Schamach, guitar, vocals, piano 

Jim Sturman, drums, vocals 

Larry Kiely, Jr., bass, guitar, vocals 




d> Other credits 

Produced by Bob Thiele, Jonathan Whitcup* 

Mix and mastering: Steve Scheaffer. 

Engineers: Brooks Arthur, Steve Scheaffer. 

Cover and liner design: William Duevell, Henry Epstein. 

Photos: Norman Trigg, Elliot Landy, David Glaser. 

e. Liner notes 

Brief fluff by Don Heckman of Jazz & Pop magazine. 

B. Singles. 

n. "Goodbye GirV7"Just Let Go," ABC 11053, 1968. Chart action: 

C. Discussion. 

Eden^s Children were one of the best Bosstown bands, noted for their 
jazz stylings and instrumental prowess. Although they were essentially 
a power trio a la Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and the Who, their 
sound was often fuller and rather commercial, even though they were not 
a commercial success. Today their records still sound fresh and 

The 111 Hind. 

A. LP. 

Flashes , ABC ABCS-641, 1968. Chart action: none. 

a. Side 1 

h "Walkin* and Singin*" (Ken and Tom Frankel) 

2. "People of the Night" (Ken and Tom Frankel) [mislabeled 

as "Sleep" on album cover] 

3. "Little Man" (Ken and Tom Frankel) 

4. "Dark World" (Ken and Tom Frankel) 

5. "L.A.P.D." (Richard Griggs) 

b. Side 2 

'1. "High Flying Bird" (Bill Edd Wheeler) 

2. "Hung Up Chick" (Ken and Tom Frankel) 

3. "Sleep" (Ken and Tom Frankel) [mislabeled as "People 

of the Night" on album cover] 

4. "Full Cycle" (Ken and Tom Frankel) 

c. Members 

Ken Frankel, lead guitar, banjo 
Richard Griggs, rhythm guitar, vocals 
Carey Mann, bass, vocals 
David Kinsman, drums 
Connie Devanney, vocalist 

d. Other credits 

A Rasputin Production by Tom Wilson. 



Recording engineer: Ha-^^y Yarmark. 

Remix engineer: Gary fellgren. 

Cover design and photography: Bongiorno/Tervinski. 

Coordinated by Mark D. Joseph, Reluctant Management, Inc. 

e. Liner ne:fes 

B. Single. 

1. "In My Dark World" [same as "Dark World" from Flashes ]/"Wal kin' 
and Singin'," ABC 11107, 1968. Chart action: none. 

C. Discussion. 

This band is one of the undiscovered gems of the Bosstown Sound. Singer 
Connie- Devanney is outstanding, with a timbre and delivery similar to 
that of the Pentangle's Jacqui McShee. When the males join in on harmony, 
the folk rock textures are reminiscent of the pre-Grace Slick Jefferson 
Airplane. "Dark World" is a haunting, beautiful song that should have 
been- a hit. 

Jol liver ArkansaK. 

A. LP. 

1. Howe , Bell 6031. 1969. Chart action: none. 

a. Side 1 

T. "Frou Frou" (J. Hutchinson) 

2. "Mr. Brennan" (J. Hutchinson, Feiix Pappelardi) 

3. "Bright as Fire" (J. Colegrove, R. Blake) 

4. "The Eye" (J. Hutchinson) 

5. "A Girl Like Mary" (J. Colegrove) 

6. "Hatred Sun" (J. Hutchinson) 

b. Side 2 

1. "Lisa My Love" (J. Hutchinson, D. Hutchinson) 

2. "Migrant Fowl" (J. Hutchinson) 

3. "King Chaos" (J. Hutchinson) 

4. "You Keep Me Satisfied" (u. Hutchinson) 

5. "St. Justina" (J. Hutchinson) 

6. "Gray Afternoon" (E. Mottau, J. Colegrove, E. Ryan, 

M. Ryan) 

c. Members 

Jim Colegrove, bass, guitar, dobro, vocals 
Joe Hutchinson, guitar, vocals 
Ed Mottau, guitar, vocals 
Ronnie Blake, drums 

d. . Other credits 

Assisting musicians: Leslie West, Felix Pappalardi. 

% - 



Engineering: Bob d'Orleans. 

Recorded at Gotham Sound Studios, NYC. 

Cover photograph and album design: Philip Maitland-Kraft. 

Umbrella Man: Steve Chudnoff. 

Musical direction and production by Felix Pappalardi for 
Windfall Music Enterprises Inc. 

e. Liner notes 

Song lyrics are prints'i inside gatefold cover. 

B. Single. 

*1. "Lisa My LoveV'Mr. Brennan," Bell 802, 1969. Chart action: 

C. Discussion. 

This is a latter day version of Bo Grumpus (whose album I have not heard). 
After the brief "heyday" of the Bosstown Sound, several of the surviving 
bands took a sharp turn toward what would later be called album-oriented 
rock (AOR). Jolliver Arkansaw, Eagle, and the Apple Pie Motherhood Band 
are all in this category. Of the three, the best is Jolliver Arkansaw, 
whc bring sufficient finesse and texture to the form to stand out from 
the hundreds of bands who- cranked out AOR in the late 1960s and early 
1970s. Jolliver Arkansaw probably benefitted greatly from their 
association with Leslie West and Felix Pappalardi. Several songs on 
the album sound similar to the work of West and Pappalardi 's later 
aggregation. Mountain. 


A. LPs. 

1. Orpheus , MGM E-4524 (mono), MGM SE-4524 (stereo), 1968. Chart 
action: entered 3-9-68, peak 119, 14 weeks. 

a. Side 1 

T; "I've Never Seen Love Like This" (Arnold, Gulliksen) 

2. "Lesley's World" (L. Miller, B. Miller) 

3. "Congress Alley" (Martin) 

4. "Music Machine" (Martin) 

5. "Door Knob Song" (Martin) 

b. Side 2 

1. "I'll Stay with You" (Arnold, Gulliksen) 

2. "Can't Find the Ti>Tie to Tell You" (Arnold) 

3. "Never in My Life" (Arnold) 

4. "The Dream" (Arnold) 

c. Members 

Bruce Arnold, vocals, lead guitar 
Jack McKenes, vocals, guitar 
John Eric Gulliksen, vocals, bass 
Harry Sandler, drums, percussion 


d. Other credits 

Produced and arranged by Al an Lorber for Al an Lorber 

Productions, Inc. 
Engineer: Ed&le Smith, Bell Sound Studios Inc. 
Director of Engineering: Val Valentin. 
Direction: International Career Consultants. 
Cover and liner photo: Stephen Lorber. 

e. Liner notes 

Ascending ^ MGM SE-4569, 1968. Chart action: entered 9-28-68, 
peak 159, 12 weeks. 

a. Side 1 

1. "I'll Fly" (Bruce Arnold) 

2. "Just Got Back" (Steve Martin) 

3. "Mine's Yours" (Bruce Arnold) 

4. "Don't Be So Serious" (Bruce Arnold) 

5. "So Far Away in Love" (Bruce Arnold) 

6. "She's Not There" (Rod Argent) 

b. Side 2 

T. "Love Over Here" (Brucu Arnold, Eric Gulliksen) 

2. "Borneo" (arranged by Orpheus) 

3. "Just a Little Bit" (Bruce Arnold) 

4. "Walk Away Renee" (Brown, Sansone, Calilli) 

5. "Roses" (Eric Gulliksen) 

6. "Magic Air" (Harold Sandler) 

c. Members 

Eric Gulliksen, bass, vocals 

Jack McKenes, guitar, vocals 

Bruce Arnold, guitar, vocals 

Harry Sandler, drums, vocals 

d. Other credits 

Produced and arranged by Alan Lorber for Alan Lorber 

Productions, Inc. 
Recording engineer: Eddie Smith, Mayfair Recording Studios, 


Liner pitoto: Stephen Lorber. 

Liner selection: Eric Gulliksen. 

Management: International Career Consultants, Inc. 

Director of Engineering: Val Valentin. 

Cover photo: John Murello. 

Art direction: Acy R. Lehman. 

Orpheus Fan Club: TAJ, 1618 Salem Road, Valley Stream, 
Long Island 11580. 

e. Liner notes 

A silly poem by Eric Gulliksen. 


Joyful . MGM SE-4599, 1969. Chart action: entered 10-1-69, 
peak 198, 1 week. 

a. Side 1 

1. "By the Size of My Shoes" (L. Weiss, J. Williams) 

2. *-He About You" (Gary Bonner, Alan Gordon) 

3. "May I Look at You" (Bruce Arnold) 

4. "To Touch Our Love Again" (Bruce Arnold, Eric Gulliksen) 

5. "Lovin' You" (Bruce Arnold, EHc Gulliksen, Jack McKenes) 

b. Side 2 

T. "Brown Arms in Houston" (Lesley Miller, Joe Henry) 

2. "As They All Fall" (Bruce Arnold) 

3. "I Can Hake the Sun Rise" (Bruce Arnold, Eric Gulliksen) 

4. "Joyful" (Bruce Arnold, Eric Gulliksen) 

5. "Of Enlightenment" (Bruce Arnold) 

c. Members 

Harry Sandler, drums, percussion, vocals 

Jack McKenes, rhythm guitar, vocals 

Bruce Arnold, acoustic and electric guitars, vocals 

Eric Gulliksen, bass/bass guitar, vocals 

d. Other credits 

Produced and arranged by Alan Lorber for Alan Lorber 

Productions, Inc. 
Recording engineer: Eddie Smith, Mayfair Studios, NYC. 
Director of engineering: Val Valentin. 
Liner photo: Stephen Lorber. 
Management: International Career Consultants, Inc. 
Cover photo: Hoscati. 
Art direction: Dick Smith. 
Special thanks to the Brothers Swan. 

e. Liner notes 

Short poem by Eric Gulliksen. 

Orpheus , Bell 6061, 1971. Chart action: none. 

a. Side 1 (all songs written by Steve Martin) 

1. "Big Green Pearl" 

2. "Monkey Demon" 

3. "It Gets Worse Every Time" 

4. "I Wanna Be Your Lover" 

5. "Nunnery" 

6. "By the Way" 

b. Side 2 

T. "Sweet Life" (Bruce Martin, Steve Martin, Elliott 

2. "Tomorrow Man" (Steve Martin) 

3. "'Rainbow Peddler" (Steve Martin) 

4. "I'll Be There" (Steve Martin) 

5. "Big Green Pearl" (Steve Martin) 


c. Hembe t^s 

Bruce ArnoTd, vocals, guitars 

Steve Martin t vocals 

Elliot Sherman, piano, clavinet 

Howard Hersh, bass 

K.P. Burke, harmonica 

Bernard Purdie, drums 

d. Other credits 

Recording engineer: Fred Weinberg, A4R Studios, NYC. 

Album photography and design: Zipper Works. 

Produced by Alan Lorber for Alan Lorber Productions, Inc. 

e. Liner notes 

B. Singles. 

n. "Can't Find the TimeV"Lesley*s World," MGM 13882, J968. Chart 
actiion: "Can't Find the Time" entered 8-23-69, peak 80, 
7 weeks. 

*2. "I've Never Seen Love Like This "/"Congress / MGM 13947, 

1968. Chart action: none. 

*3. "Brown Arms :n Houston"/"I Can Make tiie Sun '^ise," MGM 14022, 
'969. Cha\*t action: "Brown Arms in Houston" entered 
5-31-69, peak 91, 3 weeks. 

*4. "By the Size of My Shoes"/"Joyful ," MGM 14139, 1969. Chart 
action: none. 

*5. "Big Green Pearl "/"Sweet Life," Bell 45128, 1971. Chart action: 

C. Discussion. 

Orpheus was a soft rock/easy listening band which dabbled in country 
rock on its fourth and last album. The first three albums are virtually 
indistinguishable from each other. Damned with faint praise by Jon Landau 
for being "good schlock," Orpheus's records today sound like an uneasy 
combination of the Association, Tommy James and the Shondells, Climax, 
and Perry Como. Occasionally^ thair annoyingly pleasant norm is 
interrupted by a more memorable song like "Congress Alley," which at 
least is delivered with more energy than the band customarily musters. 

Together with Ultimate Spinach, Orpheus was under the wing of New York 
producer Alan Lorber, a man reportedly responsible for a number of major 
hits prior to the Bosstown promotion. I have not been able to discover 
anything about these c^arlier hits, but Lorber definitely seems to have 
had a commercial orientation which shaped the image and sound of Orpheus. 
The image was psychedelic, as reflected in the distorted photographs 
on their first two album covers. Meanwhile, the sound was syrupy soft 



A. LP. 

1. Phluph , Verve V6-5054, 1968. Chart action: none. 

a. Side 1 

T "Doctor Mind" (Blake IV) 

2. "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" 


3. "In Her Way" (Blake IV) 

4. "Another Day" (Blake IV) 

5. "Girl in Tears" (Pell) 

b. Side 2 

T. "Ellyptical Machine" (Blake IV) 

2. "Lovely Lady" (Maisano) 

3. "Death of a Nation" (Blake IV) 

4. "Love Eyes" (Pell) 

5. "Patterns" (Blake IV) 

c. Members (instruments unspecified) 
Benson Blake IV 

Lee Dudley 
John Pell 
Joel Maisano 

d. Other credits 

A Bornwin Production. 

Produced by Dan Elliot. 

Director of Engineering: Val Valentin. 

Cover and liner photos: Richard Blinkoff. 

Art direction: Acy R. Lehman. 

e. Liner notes 

The notes include an inane pseudo-poem, mixed with marketing 
slogans: "Cambridge comes and conquers. Phluph has fired 
the sound heard 'round the world. The British (and San 
Francisco) are on the run. Phluph, the first Boston group 
recorded by a major recording compan; [Verve, a subsidiary 
of MGM], is the origir tor not the imitator." The notes 
also quote a laudatory review from Cashbox magazine. 

B. Single. 

n. "Another Day"/"Doctor Mind," Verve 10564, 1968. Chart action: 

C. Discussion. 

Phluph's album is astonishingly good. The musicianship is excellent. 


the original songs are well crafted, and the sound is a bold, experimental 
punkadelic, with echoes of the Five Americans in the vocals and the Animals 
and Music Machine in the instrumentation. The organist is particularly 


A. ' LP. 

1. Puff , MGM SE-4622, 1969. Chart action: none. 

a. Side.l (all songs written by Ronn Campisi) 
T. "Dead Thoughts of Alfred" 

2. "Rainy Day" 

3. "Vacuum" 

4. "Walk Upon the Water" 

5. "Who Do You Think You Are" 

6. "Of Not Being Able to Go to Sleep" 

b. - Side 2 (all songs written by Ronn Campisi) 

1. "When I Wake Up in the Morning" 

2. "Trees" 

3. "It's My Way" 

4. "I Sure Need You" 

5. "Go With You" 

6. "Changes" 

c. Members 

Vin Campisi, lead guitar 
Jim Mandell, piano, organ, flute, vocals 
David-Allen Ryan,, bass, vocals 
Robert Henderson, drums, vocals 

d. Other credits 

Produced by Alan Lorber for Alan Lorber Productions, Inc. 

Recording engineer: Eddie Smith, Mayfair Studios, NYC. 

Director of Engineering: Val Valentin. 

Cover photo: Joel Brodsky. 

Art direction: David E. Krieger. 

Puff Fan Club: P.O. Box 47, Boston, Mass. 

e. Liner notes 

B. Single. 

*1. "Looking in My Window"/"Rainy Day," MGM 14040, 1969. Chart 
action: none. 

C. Discussion. 

Puff came to my attention through an ad in Goldmine which listed them 
as a Bosstown band^ The Lorber and MGM connections and the Boston fan 
club address support the assumption that they were part of the Bosstown 


Sound, but I have no independent confirmation of this, 21 

Puff's (Silbuni is weak. The songs are pretentious and dull for the most 
part', while the performance of the band is competent but lacking in flair. 
Stylistically, Puff combines elements of Phluph-like punkadelic and 
Orpheus-style pop, with a result that often borders on bubblegum, somewhat 
on the order of Innocence or Sopwith Camel. 

Ultimate Spinach* 

A. LPs* 

1. uniwate Spinach , MGM E-4518 (mono), MGM SE-4518 (stereo), 
March 1968. Chart action: entered 2-24-68, peak 34, 24 

a. Side 1 (all songs written by Ian Bruce-Douglas) 

1. "tgo Trip" 

2. "Sacrifice of the Moon" (in four parts) 

3. 'Plastic Raincoats/Hung-Up Minds" 

4. "(Ballad of the) Hip Death Goddess" 

b. Side 2 (all songs written by Ian Bruce-Douglas) 
i: "Your Head Is Reeling" 

2. "Dove in Hawk's Clothing" 

3. "Baroque #1" 

4. "Funny Freak Parade" 

5. "Pamela" 

c. Members 

Ian Bruce-Douglas, vocals, electric piano, electric 
harpsichord, organ, harpsichord, 12-string guitar, 
sitar, harmonica, wood flute, theremin, celeste 

Barbara Hudson, vocals, electric guitar, hollow body guitar, 

Keith Lahteinen, vocals, drums, tabla, bass drum, assorted 

bells, chimes 
Richard Nese, bass, feedback bass 

Geoffrey Winthrop, vocals, lead guitar, feedback guitar, 
drone sitar, electric sitar 

d. Other credits 

Arrangements by Ian Bruce-Douglas. 

Produced by Alan Lorber for Alan Lorber Productions, Inc. 

Recording engineer: Harry Yarmark, Bell Sound Studios. 

Management: Amphion Co. 

Direction: International Career Consultants. 

Cover concept: David Jenks. 

Cover art and design: Richard Sauter. 

Dedicated to Kenneth Patchen, Dick Summer. 

e. Liner notes 

The album FiaF sprawling, cosmic liner notes attributed 
to Ian Bruce-Douglas, filled with phrases like: "Ultimate 



Spinach is mind food . • • let the music reach into your 
depths with a candle and light up what has been dark for 
too long ... take what we give you, because we give it 
totally for you, but protect our gift, keep it close to 
you, and above all, let us help you find your own real 
beauty, so that others, in turn, may grow beautiful in 
your presence." 

Behold 1 See, MGM SE-4570, June 1968 (Roxon*s date, probably 
too early). Chart action: entered 11-9-68, peak 198, 
2 weeks. 

a. Side 1 (all songs written by Ian Bruce-Douglas) 
T. "Gilded Lamp of the Cosmos" 

2. "Visions of Your Reality" 

3. "Jazz Thing" 

4. "Mind Flowers" 

b. Side- 2 (all songs written by Ian Bruce-Douglas) 

1. "Where You're At" 

2. "Suite: Genesis of Beauty" (in four parts) 

3. "Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse" 

4. "Fragmentary March of Green" 

c. Members 
Not listed. 

d. Other credits 

Arrangements by Ian Bruce-Douglas. 

Produced by Alan Lorber for Alan Lorber Productions, Inc. 
Recording engineer: Harry Yarmark, Mayfair Recording 

Studios, Inc. 
Director of Engineering: Val Valentin. 
Cover/liner art: David Jenks. 
Management: Amphion Co. 

Direction: International Career Consultants, Inc. 
Art direction: Acy R. Lehman. 

Ultimate Spinach Fan Club: c/o Janet North, Claudia Hutton, 
17 Evergreen Road, Acton, Mass. 01720. 

e. Liner notes 

UUIniate Spinach , MGM SE-4600, 1969. Chart action: none. 

a. Side 1 

T. "(Just Like) Romeo & Juliet" (R. Wylie, T. Williams) 

2. "Some-Days You Just Can*t Win" (Ted Myers, Tony Scheuren) 

3. "Daisy" (Jeff Baxter) 

4. "Sincere" (Ted Myers) 

5. "Eddie^s Rush" (Ultimate Spinach) 

b. Side 2 

Y. "Strange-Life Tragicomedy" (Ted Myers, Tony Scheuren) 



2. "Reasons" (Tony Scheuren) 

3. "Happiness Child" (Ted Myers) 

4. "Back Door Blues" (Ted Myers) 

5. "The World Has Just Begun" (Ted Myers, Tony Scheuren) 

c. Members 

Jeff Baxter, lead guitar, steel and bowed guitars, vibes, 

Barbara Hudson, guitar, vocals 

Mike Levine, bass 

Russ Levine, drums 

Ted Myers, vocals, guitar . 

Tony Scheuren, organ, piano, acoustic guitar, vocals 

d. Other credits 

Produced by Alan Lorber for Alan Lorber Productions, Inc. 
Recording engineer: Eddie Smith, Mayfair Studios, New 

York City., 
Director of engineering: Val Valentin. 
Cover art: David Wilcox. 
Liner photo: David Jenks. 
Art direction: D. Krieger, R. Smith. 
Management: Amphion, 240 Huntington Ave., Boston, Mass. 
Special thanks to Tom Caulfield and to Aengus Ent. 
Dedicated to Billy Pollard. 

e. Liner notes 

B. Single. 

*1. "(Just Like) Romeo and Juliet"/"Some Days You Just Can't Win," 
MGM 14023, 1969. Chart action: none. 

C. Discussion. 

Ultimate Spinach was the ultimate Bosstown band- bringing together three 
quintessential elements: MGM Records, producer Alan Lorber, and 
psychedelic pretentiousness. Combining all this, they still somehow 
managed to make three good albums. 

They began as Underground Cinema, but this was too tame a name. Resident 
genius Ian Bruce-Douglas Wise also changed his name, dropping the "Wise." 
Although Bruce-Douglas was quite the auteur on the first two albums, 
the band survived his departure surprisingly well for their their and 
final album. 

Their albums, especially the first, are psychobabble-del ic, with a 
vegetarian sensitivity that today seems funny, charming, and ridiculous. 
The music often resembles Strawberry Alarm Clock, Country Joe and the 
Fish, and Jefferson Airplane. Spinach singer Barbara Hudson sometimes 
sounds like Jefferson Airplane's Grace Slick (but usually weaker), and 
on the excellent "Happiness Child" from the third Ultimate Spinach album 
(as well as on other songs), the unidentified male singer sounds very 



much like Jefferson Airplane's Paul Kantner. 

One reason cited for the decline of Ultimate Spinach, and the Bosstown 
Sound in general, was lack of talent. The charitable way to put this 
is that "[t]hey [Ultimate Spinach] were brought along much too fast . 

^More bluntly put, "[i]t seems clear enough . . . even to the 
individuals , directly involved, that Ultimate Spinach could not cut its 
bookings. "22' j^g records seem to bear out the assumption that the level 
of musicianship in Ultimate Spinach was not as high as that of Eden's 
Children, Phluph, or the Beacon Street Union. On the other hand, the 
playing is at worst adequate,, and the singing is usually quite good. 
The songs are interesting and. diverse, and the production is excessive 
in a way that I find endearing (in contrast to the otiose excesses of 
Orpheus and the Beacon. Street Union). When the elements all come together 
properly, the results^ are quite pleasing, as in "Ego Trip," "Jazz Thing," 
and "Happiness Child," to* pick one standout cut from each album. Of 
the three best known Bosstown bands (Ultimate Spinach, Orpheus, and the 
Beacon Street Union), Ultimate Spinach is without a doubt the one that 
most deserves a hearing today. 

XIV. Unrecorded bands. 

The following bands were, to the best of my knowledge, part of the Boston rock 
scene at the time of the Bosstown Sound. I take their names from the magazine 
articles I have previously cited, and from club ads in Avatar. As far as I 
know, none of these bands issued any recordings. 

Thee Argo Group 
The Bait-shop 

The Bead Game (a band by this name recorded for Avco Embassy in the early 
1970s; I assume they are a different band) 


The Cambridge Electric Opera Co. 


Central Park Zoo 

The Children of God 

Children of Paradise 

The Cloud 

The Colt Brothers Conception 

The Electric Organ 


The Ferris Wheel 
The Freeborne 
The Fudgeballs 
J. Geils Blues Band 
The Grass Menagerie 
The Hallucinations 
The Lords 

The Mushroom (see my discussion of the Apple Pie Motherhood Band) 
The 90th Congress 

The Ones (sometimes referred to as One; I assume this is a different 
group from the band or bands whose records appear on the Columbia, 
Kapp, Grunt, and Star borne labels) 

The Ragamuffins 



The Street Choir 

Goldstein lists the Improper Bostonians as a Boss town band. I exclude them 
because they seem to fit more properly in the punk movement. Similarly, the 
Big Three (apparently the trio of James Hendricks, Cass Elliott, and Tim Rose), 
sometimes listed as a Bosstown band, fit better in the folk category. 


The issue one ultimately confronts in a consideration of the Bosstown 
Sound is that of authenticity. Were there local rock bands playing in Boston 
in 1967 and 1968? Based on Avatar , the answer is emphatically yes. Does this 
mean there was a rock music "scene"? Some of the participants refused to 
characterize it as such, and here numerous related issues arise: How much t-**^, 
geographic proximity, and social intercourse are necessary to establish a "scene"? 
If there really was no Boston rock scene, why was there not? Would rock have 
thrived better or sooner in Boston if MGM Records had not come along? 

The interloping record companies brought the Bosstown bands to New York 
to record. As far as I can determine, this was true in almost every case (the 
Bagatelle being the most likely exception). The bands, whose grounding in Boston 
was apparently fragile in the first place, thus lost more of their Boston identity 
through the process of being handled by New York-based producers. Available 
evidence suggests this handling and moulding were especially significant in 
the careers of Orpheus and the Beacon Street Union. Ultimate Spinach is a special 
case in that their recorded output displays fewer contradictions. Either they 
had very little mind of their own and were to Alan Lorber what the Archies were 
to Don Kirshner, or else they must have substantially believed in the mystical 
malarkey released under their name. The latter seems more likely, leaving Orpheus 
and the Beacon Street Union as the main beneficiaries, or victims, of "guidance" 
by their producers. Does this make them somehow worse, or more pathetic, than 
other Bosstown bands? 


The illogic of a Boston sound manufactured in New York is obvious, but 
this leaves open the question of what value judgments we should make about the 
records that survive and the people who made them. The handy label "Bosstown 
Sound," contested as it was, did stick. It survives, bizarrely, as a sort of 
nickname- for-something-that-never-happened. This makes it all too easy to 
overlook not only Phluph and the 111 Wind, but even a fairly prominent band 
like Ultimate Spinach. In a purely aesthetic sense, none of these bands deserves 
to be overlooked. To stand Paul Williams on his head, just because a band was 
part of the Boss town Sound does not mean it is a priori not worth listening 

The social significance of the Bosstown Sound is harder to grasp. As 
a genre or movement, Bosstown is discredited, and the history of the Boston 
bands and their social milieu is hidden. Given these obstacles, what is the 
point in talking about the Bosstown Sound? 

Genres and movements are necessary ideological constructions that enable 
us to make sense (but always a particular kind of sense) out of the thousands 
of films, records, novels, and other works of art that accumulate over even 
a brief period of time. The most common way of "making sense" of the Bosstown 
Sound is to treat it as the Edsel described in my introduction. 

But genres and movements are also sites of conflict. When MGM, WBZ, 
and Newsweek wanted there to be such a thing as the Bosstown Sound, Avatar, 
Paul Williams, and Jon Landau did not. The fact that MGM "won" this particular 
battle had disastrous consequences "^or the bands involved and, ironically, for 
MGM itself. This in turn had far-reaching repercussions in the record industry 
and presumably in the city of Boston. The Bosstown bands were the biggest losers, 
but there were also winners, notably Mike Curb and, at least indirectly, a 
subsequent generation of Boston bands including the J. Geils Band and Aerosmith. 



At a minimum, therefore, the battle of the Bosstown Sound, the "sound 
heard 'round the world," was an ideological struggle for control of careers, 
money, and a city's musical culture. In presenting my revisionist view, I seek 
to recast the conflict as an ongoing one whose current points of contention 
include the reputations of the Bosstown bands, the availability and worthiness 
of their recordings, and the proper role of the mass media in propagating rock 
music. While the first two points may seem somewhat esoteric, the last one 
reaches to the heart of contemporary popular culture. For record companies, 
radio stations, and the press are at least gatekeepers, and occasionally 
kingmakers. They make the business decisions which enable certain musicians 
to become Icons— and others to land in the trash heap. 



1 Avatar , 1, No. 1, June 9-22, 1967, p. 5. My citations of Avatar are 
from the Underground Newspaper Collection , a series of microfilms produced by 
the Micro Photo Division- Bell & Howell Co. and the Underground Press Syndicate. 
The 1967 issues of Avatar are on Roll No. 2. The 1968 issues are on Roll No. 
5. Some issues are missing on both rolls. Much of my historical account is 
drawn from Avatar. 

2 Eric von Schmidt and Jim Rooney, Baby , Let Me Follow You Down: The 
Illustrated Story of the Cambridge Folk Years (Garden City, NY: Anchor 
Press/boubleday, 1979). 

3 See Tom Hibbert, Rare Records: Wax Trash & Vinyl Treasures (London: 
Proteus Books, 1982), pp. 61-63. The compilation LP New England Teen Scene 
contains recordings by an additional fifteen local punk bands from 1966-1967, 
none of whom have any noticeable connection to the Bosstown Sound. I have been 
unable to obtain the similar compilation LP Bay State Rock , which contains 
recordings by yet another three punk bands not already referred to. 

4 Paul Williams, "What Goes On," Crawdaddy , No. 15, May 1968, pp. 43-46, 
quote on p. 44. 

5 Joseph Torteill, "Beacon Street Union: The Dream Died in Bosstown," 
Goldmine , 13, No. 26, ,^nole number 193, December 18, 1987, pp. 20, 28. 

6 See Jim Rooney 's account of the early history of the Boston Tea Party, 
in von Schmidt and Rooney, Baby, Let Me Follow You Down , p. 302. 

7 Ken Emerson, "Music," Avatar, No. 21, March 15-28, 1968, newspaper 
section, p. 10. 

S Carl Nagin, "Doors," Avatar, New York City edition. No. 1, March 29, 
1968, newspape)* section, p. 7. 

9 Rusty Marcus W quoted in Ken Emerson, "The Boston Sound ," Avatar , Boston 


edition. No. 22, March 29, 1968, newspaper section, p. 9. 

10 Jon Landau, "Report from Boston," Crawdaddy , No. 10, July-August 1967, 

p. 37. 

11 Jon Landau, "The Sound of Boston: 'Kerplop,'" Rolling Stone , 1, No. 
8, April 6, 1968, pp. 1, 8, 22, quotes on p. 8. 

12 For example, Steve Chappie and Reftbee Garofalo, Rock 'n' Roll Is Here 
to Pay; The History and Politics of the Music Industry (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 
1977), p. 77; Charlie Gillett, The Sound of the City; The Rise of Rock and 
Roll , rev. and exp. ed. (New York; Pantheon Books, 1983), p. 354; and, somewhat 
more sympathetically, Ed Ward, Geoffrey Stokes, and Ken Tucker, Rock of Ages; 
The Rolling Stone History of Rock & Roll (Englewood Cliffs, NJ; Rolling Stone 
Press/Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1986), pp. 406-408. 

13 "Bosstown Sound," Newsweek, January 29, 1968, pp. 81-82. 

14 Richard Goldstein, "The New Boston Sound and the Rock Scholars," Vogue , 
February 1968, pp. 164-165, 214-215. 

15 Stanley Penn, "Selling a New Sound," Wa ll Street Journal , May 27, 1968, 
pp. 1, 17. 

16 Robert Somma, "The Boston Sound Revisited," originally published in 
Fusion , ca. 1969, rpt. in The Age of Rock 2 , ed. Jonathan Eisen (New York: 
Vintage Books, 1970), pp. 219-234. 

17 "Mike Curb and Richard Nixon Battle Dopers," Rolling Stone , No. 71, 
November 26, 1970, pp. 1, 6. 

18 "Bosstown Sound," p. 82. 

19 Joel Whitburn, comp.. Top Pop 1955-1982 (Menomonee Falls, WI: Record 
Research, Inc., 1983); Joel Whitburn, comp.. Top Pop Albums 1955-1985 (Menomonee 
Falls, WI; Record Research Inc., 1985); and Joel Whitburn, comp.. Bubbli ng 
Under the Hot 100 1959-1981 (Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc., 1982). 


20 Terry Hounsome,. Rock Record 3rd ed. (New York: Facts on File 
publications, 1987); Jerry Osborne and Bruce Hamilton, comps. Rock, Rock & Roll 
45s, 4th ed. (Phoenix: O'Sullivan Woodside & Co., 1983); Neal Umphred, ed. 
Rock & Roll Record Albums . 1985-'86 ed. (Phoenix: O'Sullivan, Woodside * Co., 
1985); Jerry Osborne, comp., Rockin' Records (Tempe, AZ: Osborne Enterprises 
Ltd., 1986); Lillian Roxon, Rock Encyclopedia (1969; rpt. New York: Grosset 
& Dunlap, 1971); and Ken Glee, comp. , The Directory of American 45 R.P.M. Records , 
3 vols. (Philadelphia: Stak-o-Wax, 1981). 

21 A similar case which I am assuming is not Bosstown is the eponymous 
album by Kangaroo (MGM SE-4586, ca. September 1968). That band included former 
Remains, drummer N.D. Smart, but the album cover lists a New York fan club address. 
The producers were Bob Wyld and Art Polhemus, best known for producing the New 
York band Blues Magoos. 

22 Somma, "The Boston Sound Revisited," p. 231. 



Other Sources on the Bosstown Sound and Related Subjects 
"It Happened in 1968." Rolling Stone . No. 26, February 1, 1969, pp. 15-19. 
"Love-In in Bosstown." Time , July 12, 1968, pp. 18-19. 

McGuire, Wayne. "The Boston Sound." Crawdaddy , No. 17, August 1968, pp. 43-48. 
Nash, Jim; and Fong-Torres, Ben. "M6M: 'We Inherited a Very Sick Company." 

Rolling Stone , No. 53, March 7, 1970, pp. 1, 6. 
"Orpheus Descends on Park— But Without Much Impact." Billboard , July 26, 1969, 

p. 42. 

Review of Earth Opera, The Gre a t American Eagle Tragedy . Stereo Review , August 
1969, p. 102. 

Schoenfeld, Herm. "Alan Lorber Parlays Groupie Gals Into Multi-Faceted Show 

Biz Industry." Variety , October 8, 1969, p. 53. 
Schoenfeld, Herm. "'Curbing' MGM's Disk Deficit." Variety , November 26, 1969, 

p. 55. 

Stambler, Irwin. Encyclopedia, of Pop, Rock & Soul . New York; St. Martin's 

Press, 1977. Entry on Earth Opera, pp. 172-173. 
Tamarkin, Jeff. "The Bosstown Sound Revisited: A Tale of One City." Record 

Auction Monthly , No. 1, July 1984, pp. 4-5. 
Tamarkin, Jeff. "The Remains: Looking Back." Goldmine , 12, No. 12, whole 

number 153, June 6, 1986, pp. 22, 60-62. 
Tiegel, Eliot. "MGM Busts Rock Groups." Billboard , November 7, 1970, pp. 

1, 70. 

Williams, Paul. "The Way We Are Today." In The Age of Rock , ed. Jonathan Eisen 
(New York: Vintage Books, 1969), pp. 307-314.